The Great Divorce

The Lizard Symbol Analysis

The Lizard Symbol Icon

One of the ghosts in the Valley of the Shadow of Life carries a small lizard with him; the lizard whispers in his ear, preventing him from entering Heaven. As the book makes clear, the lizard is the embodiment of lust: a dangerous, seductive force that can distract human beings from God.

The Lizard Quotes in The Great Divorce

The The Great Divorce quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Lizard. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the HarperOne edition of The Great Divorce published in 0.
Chapter 11 Quotes

Ye must ask, if the risen body even of appetite is as grand a horse as ye saw, what would the risen body of maternal love or friendship be?

Related Characters: George MacDonald (speaker), The Narrator
Related Symbols: The Lizard
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Lizard Symbol Timeline in The Great Divorce

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Lizard appears in The Great Divorce. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
...another ghost, who’s carrying something on his shoulder. The ghost is carrying a small hissing lizard, and keeps yelling for the lizard to be quiet. As the lizard continues to whisper... (full context)
Free Will and Salvation Theme Icon
Love, Sacrifice, and Sin Theme Icon
...the angel that he won’t be able to go to the mountains while carrying the lizard. He’s told his lizard to keep quiet, but unfortunately, the lizard keeps making noise. The... (full context)
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
Love, Sacrifice, and Sin Theme Icon
After the lizard is dead, the ghost begins to change. He becomes solider and bigger, until he’s a... (full context)
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
Love, Sacrifice, and Sin Theme Icon
MacDonald explains to the Narrator that the lizard was lust—a creature who has no home in the mountains. With the ghost’s assent, the... (full context)
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
Free Will and Salvation Theme Icon
Love, Sacrifice, and Sin Theme Icon
...these feelings can be transformed into new, more beautiful feelings—just as the angel transformed the lizard into a beautiful horse. If Pam would temporarily give up her feelings for her son,... (full context)